Express News Service
KOCHI: As many as 134 government employees have been caught accepting bribe in Kerala since 2016, with observers saying it is just the tip of the iceberg as a large number of cases go unreported.
Revenue (31) and police departments (18) had the most number of employees arrested for taking bribes over the past six years followed by urban affairs (15), panchayat (8), LSGD (7), health (7), tax (6) and excise (5).
Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) uses phenolphthalein to ‘trap’ employees, but it could be done only if a government servant accepts currency notes. “These days there are other ways. It is given in the form of gifts. Sometimes money is transferred to the bank accounts of the employees’ friends or relatives. In fact, catching corrupt officers using such traps has come down in recent years,” a VACB officer said. As many as 846 cases have been registered in the state over the past six years. While 338 were registered in 2016, the number came down to 84 last year. Anti-Corruption People’s Movement general secretary N S Unnithan said the decrease in number does not reflect the true situation.
“Though the LDF government came to power promising steps to wipe out corruption, they are watering down existing anti-corruption rules. The controversy surrounding Lok Ayukta is prime example,” said Unnithan. He asked people to come forward to end the menace. “Despite widespread campaign, only rarely people come forward to file complaint against officials who demand bribe. Also the conviction rate is low. An official caught in a bribery case is suspended for a few months, but reinstated. The government must take stern action against officials,” he said.